A new drivetrain for my Gitane
Hi All. Thank you for reading my post. I have a 1972 Gitane Tour de France that I need to upgrade for a second time. In 1992 I had a shop put all new parts on it except for the wheels. The 6 speed and 105 components worked well commuting around Grand Junction, CO but now that I live at 7200' on the side of Grand Mesa I find I have neither the legs nor the low gears to climb the hill. It is ten miles and a drop of 2000' to the valley floor and the road tops out on the Grand Mesa at 10200'. According to my topo map the north/south roads are about 4-6% slope. Some of the east/west roads are level but there are 8-11% grades to get to them. The last half mile to my house is a 7% climb. My front chainrings are 53/ 42 and the freewheel is 14-28. I am 6'6", 175 lbs and on the wrong side of 50.
I have read dozens of posts on different bulletin boards. Here is a list of what I think I need to do to get a range of gear inches from about 20 to 100.
1. Spread the rear spacing from 120mm to 130mm using Sheldon's 2x4 technique or with a threaded bar and wing nuts. I am not clear how to do the fork end alignment with a pipe wrench or whether it will even be necessary.
2. Install a 26/36/48 Sugino XD crank from Yellow Jersey with a un72 113mm spindle. I'm not sure what the mechanic did in 1992 to fit the 105 cranks in the French bottom bracket. The fixed cup says "Japan Tioga 1.37x24t". I do not have the right tools to pull the crank to take a closer look. My crank puller fits the original Stronglight crank.
3. Replace double front dr with a triple. Will a 105 or Ultegra work with the 36/48 large rings and the 12 tooth gap or do I need an LX?
4. Install new wheels: Mavic Open Pro with Ultegra hubs. I still have the orignals with Mavic rims and Campy hubs.
5. Install a 13-30 cassette and a 9 spd chain. The goal is to have a range of GI from 20-100.
6. About those shifters. I have only used the down tube variety but the Ergo shifters with the Hubub technique or a Shiftmate sounds good. Even bar ends would be a step up for me.
7. Install a long cage 105 or Ultegra or an LX?
8. Buy the necessary tools to do the work: crank puller, bottom bracket tools, chain whips.
I am not married to any one solution nor to even trying to use the Gitane. I researched new bikes and narrowed my choices to Bianchi, LeMond, or Jamis steel bikes. I went so far as to order a $1400 Jamis Quest before I realized it didn't have low enough gears. The shop would need to charge me another $275 to change the drivetrain. I see Fuji and Cannondale have touring bikes with low gearing. If the Gitane frame can be spread it seems my money would be better spent on putting on components I want. What do you think?
I would also consider keeping the 120mm spacing and a 6 spd freewheel if I thought overhauling 35 year old Campy hubs was worthwhile. I don't really trust the original Mavic rims but that may just be my bias. But I would still need to use a different crankset to get a 20 to 100 range and at the moment I don't see how to do it.
I am suffering from analysis paralysis so any suggestions, opinions, or words of wisdom will be appreciated.
Waiting to ride( it's been 12 years!), Jim Brantley, Cedaredge, CO